Making India a tourist hub

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Travel and Tourism is the largest service industry globally in terms of gross revenue and foreign exchange earnings. It is also one of the largest employment generators in the world. Over 20 million people work in India's tourist industry. This includes jobs in hotels, transport, attractions and tour companies. Others indirectly benefit such as restaurants and retail shops.  Another benefit is infrastructure development such as construction of world class hotels, airport and highways.

As per the reports of  World Travel & Tourism Council tourism generated Rs. 6.4 trillion or 6.6% of the nation's GDP in 2012.  It supported 39.5 million jobs, 7.7% of its total employment. The sector is predicted to grow at an average annual rate of 7.9% till 2023 making India the third fastest growing tourism destination over the next decade.

Tourism policies of the government  provide a framework to promote the sector and facilitate growth. The policies provide access to resources and opportunities for employment. Recently the Centre took a slew of measures aimed at creating more jobs and increasing India's share in global tourism market.

Initiatives of Ministry of Tourism :-

⇒ PRASAD- Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive : Under PRASAD twelve cities have been identified for development initially, namely: Amritsar, Ajmer, Dwaraka, Mathura, Varanasi, Gaya, Puri, Amaravati, Kanchipuram, Vellankanni, Kedarnath and Guwahati. During the year 2015-16 Budget estimates of Rs.100.00 crore was allocated for the project.

⇒ Swadesh Darshan - Integrated Development of Theme-Based Tourist Circuits :  Under Swadesh Darshan scheme, Spiritual Circuit has been identified as theme circuit for development which would boost tourism and promote cultural heritage of country, local arts, handicrafts, cuisine and generate employment. During the year 2015-16 budget  estimates of  Rs.600.00 crore was allocated for the project.

Some of the major infrastructural components under both plans are:

♦ Development/upgradation of passenger terminals.
♦ Improvement of road connectivity leading to tourist sites/destinations.
♦ Use of clean energy sources for street lighting.
♦ Wayside amenities with emergency vehicle breakdown, repair and refuel facilities.
♦ External infrastructure such as water supply, sewerage, drainage, electricity and roads.
♦ First-aid centres.
♦ Helipads, heliports, airstrips, ropeways.
♦ Communication system, Mobile Services, Internet Connectivity, Wi-Fi.

⇒ Hunar Se Rozgar Tak : It is a path breaking initiative by the ministry of tourism in the year 2009-10, under this scheme school dropout between 18 or 28 yrs of age  are trained at the ihm over the period of 6 to 8 weeks in the area of Food Production, Bakery, Food & Beverage Service and interface with the local hotel and tourism industry is created from for their employment.

⇒ Swachh Bharat Swachh Pakwan (Hunar Zaika) : The street food vendors constitute a significant percentage of the hospitality service providers, are part of the Indian milieu through the ages and have a pan India presence. This program is aimed at upgrading  the  skills and hygiene standards of Street Food Vendors, so that they become a distinctive aspect of the Indian tourism. The Ministry of Tourism is partnering with the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) for the specific purpose of orientation, skill testing and certification of the vendors.

⇒ Incredible India Helpline :  On a pilot basis, the Ministry of Tourism has set up the ‘Incredible India Help Line’ to be operated in-house to address and guide the tourists during any emergency which may include medical, crime natural calamities or on being stranded.  This service will be available as toll free on telephone 1800111363 or on a short code 1363.

⇒ Swachh Bharat Swachh Smarak E poster : Taking a cue from  "Swachh Bharat",   this is an  initiative to see a cleaner India for protecting and preserving the sanctity of monuments of national heritage. To aid this, Ministry of Tourism has launched a special poster with Prime Minister’s message requesting the tourists and the people of the nation to wholeheartedly engage themselves in the cleanliness of their surroundings and help create a Swachh Bharat, Swachh Smarak.

⇒ Welcome Cards : Ministry of Tourism launched the special welcome cards that will be handed to all the tourists, landing at our 9 International airports where Tourist Visa on Arrival  Enabled with Electronic Travel Authorization facility is operational. This card will carry the information of the local India Tourism office along with online and offline contact information which the tourists can use in case of any queries.  The main idea behind this being to make the experience of exploring the country hassle free.

Initiatives of Ministry of Culture

⇒ Launching of Web based E-Ticketing : To facilitate visitors to the monuments in getting better access, the facility of E-ticketing has been launched.  This facility will  be available at some of the monument which are frequently visited by a large number of tourists.  

⇒ 25 Model Monuments (Adarsh Smarak) : ASI has identified following 25 monuments to be included under Model Monuments from among the 3680 monuments & sites of national importance under its protection.These monuments would be provided necessary tourist facilities including wi-fi, security, signages, encroachment free area, interpretation centres showing short films about the importance of monuments and signboards of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan mentioning the slogan ‘Swachh Smarak: Swachh Bharat’.

⇒ Braille Book on Delhi Monuments : The Archaeological Survey of India has produced a Braille Book  on the monuments of Delhi.  This book will be of great assistance to the visually challenged to read about the monuments of Delhi.

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